THE CITY'S Board of Ethics has filed its first lawsuit, seeking a fine of up to $39,000 against a political-action committee run by City Councilwoman Carol Ann Campbell and contractor Ernest DeNofa.

The committee, known as the Appreciation Fund PAC, was set up by Campbell and DeNofa in 2003 to raise money from several dozen candidates for judge and other city offices.

It was supposed to file a report with the city this year on its fundraising and expenditures in 2006. It ignored the original Feb. 15 deadline, as well as a series of follow-up reminders and requests, according to J. Shane Creamer Jr., the Ethics Board's interim executive director.

On Friday, the board filed an enforcement action against the committee, and on Monday, the committee finally submitted the report.

Creamer said his agency would continue its lawsuit, seeking a fine.

"We want to send a message to other committees that we're serious about enforcing this law," Creamer said. "If you do not cooperate with us or comply with our requests to come into compliance, there will be consequences."

Campbell, the committee chairwoman, did not return a call from the Daily News. Nor did DeNofa, its treasurer, who is an ally and friend of U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, the mayoral candidate who heads the city's Democratic organization. DeNofa was appointed last year to run a new Democratic fund-raising operation.

While taking so long to file its 2006 report with city officials, the Appreciation Fund met a Jan. 31 deadline for filing a comparable report with state election officials.

It listed two contributions on Dec. 29: $15,000 to Friends of Bob Brady and $10,000 to Friends of Carol Ann Campbell. *